Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese hermit crabs get new Japanese homes

By Chang Tsun-wei  /  Staff reporter

A Japan-based Taiwanese woman shipped 18kg of conch shells from Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan to Taitung County on Saturday to provide houses for hermit crabs and to help conserve the local crab population.

Lee Wei-yi (李葦儀), 33, has been collecting and transporting sea shells from seafood restaurants and sea farms in Kanagawa to Green Island (綠島) since 2012, when I-Shou University launched a hermit crab conservation program, she said.

Hermit crabs along Taiwan’s east coast have been spotted using bottle caps, empty bottles and even water facets as shells, and the university’s Department of Leisure Management initiated the program to collect donated shells to provide for the homeless hermit crabs, the department said.

The latest batch of shells Lee collected weighed 18kg and consisted of about 300 shells, including dozens of large-sized shells.

University research assistant Tai Wen-ying (戴文櫻) said that large shells are what is most lacking, as a species of land hermit crab, Coenobita brevimanus, could grow to the size of an adult woman’s fist, making it extremely difficult for those crabs to find a home.

Born in Keelung, Lee said she grew up in a beachside city before moving to Japan eight years ago for study.

She said that after reading about the program on the Internet, she started collecting conch shells as they are often discarded in Japan.

For more information, the program organizers can be reached by phone at 089-310-001.

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